The rest of us call it New Year’s Eve, but in Scotland, it’s known as Hogmanay. By any name, it’s a night to party and nobody knows how to party better than the Scots. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations are some of the largest in the world with celebrations spread over 4 days, starting with a torchlight procession on December 30th.
Thousands of people carrying torches form a river of fire down the Royal Mile and across to Calton Hill where a firework display illuminates the city skyline. On December 31st, there’s a massive street party and open-air music concert set against a backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, followed by a dazzling show of fireworks to mark the strike of midnight.
Next on the agenda is possibly the most challenging event: The Loony Dook. Yes, those mad Scots throw themselves into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth on New Year’s Day to raise money for charity. There’s a parade through Queensferry before the dunking, which happens in view of the Forth Bridge; spectacular and fun for those who stay warm and dry on the edge. Then it’s the New Year Games, a series of playful events developed by artists and held in St Giles Cathedral, the National Gallery of Scotland and The Grassmarket. Luckily the government gives a day or two of public holiday to let people recover after all this merriment.